Toxic holiday ornaments, decorations, and childrens toys.

For awhile now I have been curious as to the toxicity of objects made out of “resin” or “polyresin”.  These items are found everywhere.  Items such as holiday ornaments, indoor and outdoor decorations ,and of course, children’s toys.

Chemical substances such as 1,2-dichloroethane, or DCA, and trichloroethylene, or TCE leach out of the resin.  According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control),

“1,2-Dichloroethane, also called ethylene dichloride, is a manufactured chemical that is not found naturally in the environment. It is a clear liquid and has a pleasant smell and sweet taste. The most common use of 1,2-dichloroethane is in the production of vinyl chloride which is used to make a variety of plastic and vinyl products including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, furniture and automobile upholstery, wall coverings, housewares, and automobile parts. It is also used to as a solvent and is added to leaded gasoline to remove lead.”

and

“Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a nonflammable, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste. It is used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers. Trichloroethylene is not thought to occur naturally in the environment. However, it has been found in underground water sources and many surface waters as a result of the manufacture, use, and disposal of the chemical.”

According to three different organizations these compounds are considered to be cancer causing agents.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lists 1,2-Dichloroethane as a probable human carcinogen, the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) lists it as possibly carcinogenic to humans, and the NTP (National Toxicology Program) lists it as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lists Trichloroethylene as Carcinogenic to humans.  the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) lists it as Carcinogenic to humans (evidence for cancer is based on kidney cancer, limited evidence for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer, as well as, various tumors in animals), and the NTP (National Toxicology Program) lists it as Known to be a Human Carcinogen.

The Case of the toxic gingerbread man by Science News found that the toxicity of the products was not isolated to when they are in use, or when they are produced, but also when they are stored, such as the method most of us use to store our Christmas decorations.

polyresin ornament
RUN, RUN… This polyresin ornament was offgassing dramatic amounts of a toxic additive.
OH NO, MR. BILL!
OH NO, MR. BILL! Doucette and his team scratched the surface (and amputated the legs) of this ornament to find the source of its toxic emissions.

 

I am sharing this information as it is a prime time of the year for use of these items and I also hope that you may consider disposing of these items instead of storing them for future use if you happen to find them in your home.

I hope that you think twice about purchasing items that are made out of resin.  Not only is it toxic if it is in your home, but it is toxic in your yard as many lawn and garden ornaments are made from resin.  Think of the probability that the toxins are leaching out of the decorations and into ground water, or your garden where you intend to harvest produce to eat as well as the toys that your children and pets may put in their mouths.  Lastly, consider the toxicity to the people who are working in factories to produce these items for our pleasure.

Source: Case of the toxic gingerbread man | Science News

Source: ATSDR – Toxic Substances – 1,2-Dichloroethane

Source: ATSDR – Toxic Substances – Trichloroethylene (TCE)

 

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